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Academic Appeals

Academic Appeals Procedure #202 provides an orderly process of appeals for decisions related to grades, program requirements, and graduation requirements. If you feel you were evaluated unfairly by an instructor, you have the right to appeal the grade you were given in a particular course.

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Please note there are specific procedures and regulations governing the appeals process, and you are responsible for knowing these procedures. If you decide to initiate an academic appeal, please read this document carefully:

Filing an Academic Appeal

  • An instructor's grade will not be changed during the appeals process unless there is clear and convincing proof the evaluation had been arbitrary and/or capricious and was unfair to the student.
  • Formal appeals must be initiated within 60 calendar days of the posting of grades or evaluations. During those 60 days, students have the right to, and are encouraged to, try to resolve the appeal informally.
  • Appeals filed during the student’s last term may result in graduation being delayed.

Steps in the Academic Appeals process

Step 1: Informal Resolution of Grade Disputes

You should first attempt to resolve an appeal issue informally with the instructor. An instructor shall respond to a student's informal appeal within 14 calendar days of receipt of the appeal. In response, the instructor may simply explain the origin of the grade or come to another mutually agreeable solution. 

This attempt to resolve the grade dispute with the instructor of record is the only step in the informal appeal process for the student. At this point, the instructor may wish to contact the department chair and/or curriculum unit coordinator regarding the status of the appeal. 

If the instructor has given no response to the student after 14 calendar days, the appeal is considered denied and the student may proceed to file a formal grade appeal.

Step 2: Formal Appeal Process

You must begin the formal appeal process within 60 calendar days of the posting of the grade or evaluation. Once the formal process has started, the student must use the appropriate university forms and meet deadlines as stated on the appeal form and in this policy.

  1. To begin the formal appeal process, you must complete and submit an appeal form, available from the ombudsperson’s office. The written appeal must include relevant information, such as your requested resolution of the grievance and any evidence or reasons you believe supports your requested resolution. Do not include information that is not relevant to the course grade as it will not be considered by the committee. The burden of proof rests with the student filing the appeal. If requested, the ombudsperson can guide you in formulating and filing an appeal.

  2. Upon receipt of the appeal form, the ombudsperson forwards copies to the instructor and appropriate department chair and appropriate dean (and/or designee).

  3. The formal appeal is first reviewed by the appropriate department chair. If the chair does not respond to the ombudsperson within 14 calendar days of receiving the appeal form, the appeal is considered denied. If denied, the appeal is then forwarded by the ombudsperson to the appropriate dean (and/or designee).

  4. The appropriate dean (and/or designee) must notify the student and the ombudsperson in writing of their decision within 14 calendar days of receiving the notification. If the appeal is denied, the response needs to provide a rationale for the decision.

  5. Within 14 calendar days of receipt of the dean’s decision, you must notify the ombudsperson in order to bring the appeal before the Academic Appeals Committee. If you do not communicate with the committee via the ombudsperson within 14 calendar days, the ombudsperson shall bring a summary of the case to the committee, which will vote on whether to consider the case without the student being present at an appeal hearing or to close the appeal.

  6. The Academic Appeals Committee hears the appeal at its next scheduled meeting. Faculty serving on the committee must remove themselves in cases directly involving their own classes. Following the hearing, the committee forwards its recommendation, in writing, to the provost within 14 calendar days of the hearing.

  7. The provost and/or designee notifies, in writing, the student, ombudsperson, Academic Appeals Committee chair, appropriate dean, and instructor of their decision within 10 calendar days of receipt of the recommendation. This is the final step in the appeal process. Decisions of the provost (or designee) are not appealable.